You have heard about happy hours most of your life. But where did it come from and why is it so popular? In this article we will delve into the history of happy hour.
The term happy hour traces its origins back hundred of years to England. It can even be found in Shakespeare’s King Henry V: “Therefore, my lords, omit no happy hour/That may give furtherance to our expedition…” But the modern use of the term is more recent, but still over 100 years old!
In 1913, the sailors aboard the USS Arkansas would get together at a certain time every day and enjoy some entertainment all while smoking their cigarettes. The entertainment could be boxing, or music playing, it didn’t matter. The idea was to get together and blow off steam.
The term, as it applies today, means a period in late afternoon where people join together and share some adult beverages. This particular type of Happy Hour was started during the prohibition era in the United States. People would meet at speakeasies after work for some drinks to relax and unwind.
Happy Hour can be found on print advertisements dating back to 1951. It became very much an en vogue term by the end of the 1950’s.
Today, many restaurants continue the tradition and even give benefits to those people who care to take part by offering drinks at a reduced price.
Even though the term has spread through other parts of the world, sadly not all people can join in the fun. Happy Hour itself has been illegal in Ireland since 2003 since the passing of the Intoxicating Liquor Act.
So, next time you are out and you are going for a drink between 3:30 and 6:30 at night, keep in mind that it is a freedom that not everyone gets to enjoy. Bottoms up!